A little book I edited a few years ago compiles great advice from more experienced preachers for the benefit of young preachers. This almost completely unknown book possesses some great treasures from great soldiers of the cross. It was entitled, Entrusted to the Next Generation. Twenty-three seasoned preachers responded, adding up to an astonishing 918 years of preaching. The longest serving at the time of publishing was E. Claude Gardner and Mac Lyon, both of whom had been preaching for 69 years. Can I share some of these gems?
- “I learned early in life that I am not good at everything. Fortunately God is” (Mark Blackwelder).
- “Do not go off into extremism. Preach the truth in love. Don’t ride a hobby horse” (Maxie Boren).
- “When people praise you too much (and they will), remember God knows your faults. When people criticize you too much (and they will), remember God knows your heart” (Earl Edwards).
- “Don’t ask the church members to do what you will not” (Glen Henton).
- “When you read or think of something you want to use in a lesson, stop then, write it down, and file it appropriately” (Sam Hester).
- “Remember that there are many brethren who are praying for you and who want you to succeed in your ministry” (Jeff Jenkins).
- “Hoe your row to the end” (David Lipe).
- “Don’t try to make a name for yourself; God will do that” (Mac Lyon).
- “Keep your love for God, for man, and for preaching” (Loy Mitchell).
- “Take advantage of every opportunity, and do your best” (David Powell).
- “Love and encourage every member. People are starved for compliments. Thank publicly those who try to serve – no matter how small the task” (John Reese).
- “Be sure to study the Bible – not just to prepare lessons, but for your own personal growth and relationship with God” (David South).
- When criticized: “Consider the source. If the source is credible, listen to them and learn; if not, keep doing your best and prove them wrong” (Billy Smith).
- “You serve God. Not yourself, not men, not family, only God. When that priority happens, family, self, and others will be served after all” (Des Steyn).
- “You have undertaken the most challenging of all works because your ministry will – by its very nature – place you in conflict with the ‘belief system’ and or the ‘behavior’ of others” (Dan Winkler).
I wish these gems of advice were available to every young preacher in the brotherhood; I wish those young preachers would consider that advice. If you know a young preacher, you might pass this on to him.
“O Timothy,” an older preacher declared to a younger one, “guard the deposit entrusted to you” (1 Timothy 6:20).
Indeed, guard it with your life.